A Leak Is Not A Hack

Among its many other meanings, the word “hack” tends to signify the act of digital trespassing. But modern hackers don’t just break into computer systems. Hackers also employ creative genius to invent radically new methods of solving problems by thinking in unorthodox ways. Reducing malaria and increasing the efficiency of nuclear power plants are realities both made possible by today’s clever innovators, or hackers. While corporate talking heads conflate hackers with terrorists, the hatred of authoritarian surveillance regimes validates hackers as modern heroes, boldly resisting the tyranny of Empire. The term “hacker” has come to be misappropriated in recent months and years, especially as the mainstream media struggles to determine whether Julian Assange is a journalist or not. The media’s constant and repeated accusations of “Russian hacking” became problematic when key intelligence officials demonstrate again and again the critical difference between a hack and a leak.


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